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Madona del Carmen in Tin Niche
Reverse-Painted Tin Nicho with Lithograph

Wooden and tin nichos frame a three dimensional religious image, religious images on paper or paintings on canvas.  The ones presented here were used on home altars for private devotion as each home had its own patron saint.  The wooden ones contain a carved saint in the center and are decorated with paper flowers, wallpaper and oftentimes with Christmas decorations. The decorations in these boxes are replenished as needed. These nichos often would have been proceeded to the saint or virgin´s shrine to have it blessed and then returned to the home altar.  The religious images on paper in the tin nichos were either a lithograph, an engraving, a wood block print, an etching or a chromolithograph. Tin replaced the wooden nichos because of its lighter weight and its lower cost.  Some of the prints were actually bought at the pilgrimage site and then framed for the home altar.  The painting on canvas framed in a very decorative tin frame probably was an original painting that had been in the family for many years that had deteriorated and the family decided to save what they could of the Virgin and had it framed in this unique way.               

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